Ch'ng Chin Chwen: Erbium:YAG Hair Stimulation, an Asian Experience

Androgenetic alopecia is a common genetically determined disorder affecting both sexes, in which terminal hairs, particularly at the vertex, undergo miniaturization into fine vellus hairs and may result in an area of total denudation. This is not life-threatening but carries a huge impact on social and psychological well-being.

Methods and results: We described four Asian patients with androgenetic alopecia who underwent Er:YAG laser hair stimulation at low fluence. Two patients had been using topical minoxidil and oral biotin supplements prior to the first treatment and were instructed to continue using the topical minoxidil throughout the treatment. Another two patients were not on any hair tonic or oral supplements throughout the treatment period. All four patients tolerated the treatment well, without the need for any topical anesthetic agent. One patient reported urticaria after every treatment, which lasted less than a day and was well tolerated with the administration of a single dose of antihistamine before and after each treatment. All patients reported significant vellus hair growth within a month, evident upon visual photo evaluation.

Conclusion: Er:YAG laser is effective and safe in inducing vellus hair growth in Asian patients at low fluence. The potential induction of acute urticaria needs to be conveyed to patients, but it is short-lived and easily manageable with antihistamines.

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